The Pine Bluff School Board has agreed to move the district’s election from May to November in order to save money and be in line with the county’s other districts’ elections. The board voted unanimously on the issue at its Tuesday meeting at the Pine Bluff School District Administrative Office.
“The reason why we changed it is because the other districts, which is Watson Chapel and White Hall, their election is in November,” school board President Herman Horace said. “We voted for the election to be in May. But, we all wanted to be on the same accord.”
In addition to being on the same page with other school districts, the move to have the election in May would cut costs.
“One reason (is that) the Jefferson County Election Commission said that it would cost us more money to have it in May, so to save money and we have to be in compliance with the other two districts, that’s why we resent the May vote to go into November,” Horace said.
On Jan. 16, the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners sent the school board a letter in an attempt to persuade them to move their election date.
“If the Jefferson County School districts hold elections at different times (it) is going to confuse voters,” Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners chairman Mike Adam said in the letter.
According to Adam, factors such as cost, impact on election officials, impact on voters and delay of elections results were all reasons to push the school election back.
“A May election is also going to be three times more expensive for your school district than a November election without any contested school board races,” Adam said.
Employee bonuses being paid with NSL funds was also a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Through NSL fiscal dollars, we have to request for that to be done,” said Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Michael Robinson of the process. “But, it has to be done through the fiscal department and they also look at our academic performance and our fiscal performance, and they make that decision … then it goes to the commissioner for his approval.”
Robinson says the paperwork to file for a request has already been submitted as the deadline is Feb. 14.
The board went into executive session for nearly an hour to discuss a personnel action. Upon returning, the board voted to recommend that Carol Gardner be a third grade teacher at 34th Elementary School retro to Jan. 3 instead of Jan. 23. The recommendation was approved by the board.
As the meeting was coming to a close, school board member Harold Jackson expressed his displeasure with the lack of cleanliness by the district’s janitorial team. He asked Robinson “whose checking the checker?” prompting him to suggest that someone be delegated to do so.
“Janitorial services need to tighten up a bit on the cleaning,” Jackson said. “We still have problems with that. The bathrooms are still smelling (and) they had to transfer the high school game to Jack Robey.”
In response, Robinson said that all issues that are reported are inspected.
“Whenever there are any issues, I immediately talk with GCA myself, and I personally go out to check to see that the matter has been resolved,” Robinson said.
No immediate action was taken on the issue, as the meeting came to an abrupt end as Jackson and fellow board member Henry Dabner began a heated debate about the janitorial cleaning.